Can some of you give me some advice as to where to find and what to get for my German Shepherd 75 pound 2 yr old dog? His teeth need cleaning. I am going to start RAW feeding soon. I understand that weight bearing bones are out – too hard and great for tooth cracking. I know about duck and turkey necks but wondering if there is anything in the goat, beef or llama department that any of you has tried. I am totally GREEN GREEN in this activity of bones yet they are important.
Thanks so much for whoever can help!
I give mine ribs for their teeth. They can’t consume the whole beef rib in a timely manner, but all the other ribs are completely consumed.
Where do you get them? (The grocery store?) And what do you ask for specifically?
I’m worried my GSD will bite them up to pieces but perhaps that’s what they are SUPPOSED to do. (?) I am beyond green on this subject but know I need to get him started. Choking worries me. I guess splintering does not happen with raw.
He’s got tartar and build up on his teeth but my understanding is that the scraping on the bones will really clean that off. ?? Thank you!
I get beef and pork ribs from the butcher. I raise my own goats(and now a steer too). I also order from Hare Today and My Pet Carnivore.
Your GSD will chew them up, and then because they are NOT cooked, he will digest the pieces. To start with, you do have to keep a close eye on your dog to make sure they actually gnaw instead of trying to gulp the whole thing, so it is best to start with bones that are really too big for him to even think that he can swallow them. He will learn than he has to eat them instead of gulping. Some people have had to try tricks to slow their dog down, like attaching vise grips, but that isn’t common.
All cooked bones are dangerous. They will definitely splinter. Chewing raw bones will definitely help clean his teeth, though he may prefer to chew on one side more than another and you may have to hold a bone so that he has to chew on the other side. I used to have to do this with one of mine, but somewhere along the way I no longer have to do that.
Are the smoked bones that are at a lot of the pet stores considered cooked? I’ve seen smoked ribs and knuckle bones at Petsmart and some feed stores.
Thank you! I just went to MPCarnivore and they have a limited time special for 20 POUNDS of lamb bones for $30. This is an assortment of bones. Wondering if anyone has gotten these yet? Hard for me to know exactly what an assortment is, and if they are too small I suppose they’d not be good for a large dog.
Thank you, BC for your additional comments. I will watch him to see what his bone eating style is.
Tracy at Hare emailed suggesting that I stick to ONE PROTEIN for several weeks when I start the raw feeding. She recommended Chicken or Turkey because they have more bones. This makes sense. It sounds like chicken backs, chicken quarters, wings and even drumsticks or bone in thighs will be good also. Since my Golden Retriever (almost 11 yrs old) transitioned cold turkey to Big Dog Natural without a hint of trouble I think I will start with Big Dog Natural for my GSD and use the Turkey and Chicken formulas. It’s air dried and all of it has tripe and fermented veggies which increase digestibility. So I could feed a Chicken quarter at night several nights a week, right? then after several weeks move to beef. How does that sound?
Thank you again so much for your help!
C4C, I wouldn’t get those smoked bones sold in pet stores. My ex boyfriend used to get those for his pitbull and they break off into big shards of hard bone. I was horrified at the size of the pieces and the sharpness of them. Never again!
Those smoked bones often have chemical smoked flavoring. If they are truly smoked, they are cooked. If they aren’t cooked, they are chemically.
Nancy, your plan sounds good.
BC NUT – I have re read your original email that says, “I give mine ribs…” In that you say, “They can’t consume the whole beef rib in a timely manner, but all the other ribs are completely consumed.” That is not getting through to my thick brain. So they cannot devour the whole rib but all the others are totally consumed?” Did you perhaps leave a word out? I really want to understand what you are saying here. You always say worthwhile things!
Sorry about my thick-ness.
Sorry. What I left out is that I have Border Collies, so beef ribs are a bit big(thick, hard) for them and they will work on one of them for days, until I throw it away. I feed 1/2 raw, so I have to watch how much bone my dogs get in their diet. I know when I feed them a beef rib, they won’t be eating the entire bone, so I have to factor that in. But they eat the whole thing when it’s llama, goat, mutton, or pork without any issues or delay. Your GSD may have no trouble consuming the whole beef rib and you might want to feed 2 ribs of smaller animals because he may go through them so easily. Mine eat chicken and duck sized bones with no trouble, but turkey they have to work at. Your dog will easily eat either, I imagine.
Thank you, Cyndi! I kind of figured that.
Good luck, Nancy! I have the same worries!
WHERE do you find the goat, llama, mutton rib bones? And they are “softer” meaning easier to chew which MIGHT mean that there could be a decreased chance of a cracked tooth? Oh yes, you have your own goats.
was just at the pet store. INSTINCT has a pkg of two lamb bones. They were about 9 to 10 inches long and had some meat on them — about $9 for two. They must have been femur bones. NOW would THAT BE A GOOD CHOICE? (I have read to stay away from load bearing bones).
Bottom line: I am scared. But I have Got to do it for his teeth.
Would you please tell me WHY you have to “watch their bone intake” because you feed 1/2 raw? I need to understand that concept. Thank you. If you could see my notebook full of notes and things I have learned you would be proud of me. It’s just that there is SO MUCH TO LEARN. I never knew having a new dog would require so much knowledge! But NOT to know these things is dangerous.
Thank you so much!!! You are a great teacher.
Nancy, just to let you know, you’ll probably have to brush your dog’s teeth as well as using RMB’s. My dog eats all homemade raw, but her front canine teeth still get tartar build up, so I brush them a couple times a week.
I believe you have to watch their bone intake because they can get too much calcium, if I’m not mistaken. I’m not sure what you’ve used already, but I think a good size turkey neck would be fine for your dog. I rotate between turkey necks, goat or rabbit pieces, chicken backs, duck necks, etc.
I know exactly what you mean about all the note taking. Last year, before I started raw, I researched and took notes and printed things out for 2 months straight before I started my dog on raw. It’s been a year and a half and I haven’t looked back…\
Good Luck! 🙂
Too much bone can upset their calcium/phosphorus balance and can cause constipation. Since I’m making half of my dogs’ food, I watch what needs to be balanced and add nutrients to make sure they are getting everything they need. For mutton, I usually get it from Hare Today, and sometimes it’s not ribs, but other bones instead. They have goat chunks as well. Llama is usually from the local guy with a llama farm, so not much help there.
It’s weight bearing bones of large ruminants that you need to avoid. My BCs handle goat and mutton femurs just fine. Every once in a while, I have to throw away a small piece that they didn’t consume. Yes, neck bones and ribs are softer, so less likely to break a tooth, but as long as it isn’t cow leg bones, I don’t worry about breaking teeth. Llama legs might be big enough to cause a problem, but I haven’t got llama legs.
First your dog is beautiful! I love the way he looks right into the picture! And with seeming purpose! 🙂 I know he’s a sweet one.
Thank you for your post also. You all are really helping me. My GSD was gone for three months for training and while he was gone I decided on RAW. Like you, I read the major books, watched Becker’s videos, took notes, read on line, and my binder is jammed. He had all those troubles on Origen and Acana and i just decided kibble was not worth it.
I will brush his teeth in addition to doing the bones. Thank you for that info. Have some HARE TODAY turkey necks frozen now but he is not YET on raw. I am working with a Homeopathic Vet who is wonderful and who has recommended Big Dog Natural although DFA people did not feel good about what BDN not coming forth with info re GA. I asked BDN about it and they said they could not tell their “secret” (which she inferred had to do with the fermentation of the veggies and the air drying process). The Homeopath vet feeds BDN to his 6 dogs – several are Great Danes – and he loves the food and the company. He also feeds Darwins. He has suggested that I go cold turkey when I transition the GSD using chicken and the turkey formulas (BDN) to begin with for several weeks. One Protein. (THat is what Tracy at HARE TODAY also suggested.) Once he’s doing great on that I will pull out the Turkey necks. After that I think I can start veering out a little. Tracy at HARE TODAY emailed me to take my time and NOT PUSH IT — that getting in a hurry will mess up his digestion. She’s SELLING RAW and TOLD ME TO SLOW DOWN! (That’s a sign of a good person!)
The woman who 1/2 owns Ziwipeak has two labs and she said she feeds them Ziwi at breakfast everyday and then gives them a raw very meaty bone for supper at night. I never got into Ziwipeak myself but it was interesting to hear that she does that. Says they are a picture of health.
Now it appears I must find out about CALCIUM so I do not overdo it. Any references about that?
Thank you again for your input. This is such a great site and I have met wonderful people.
If you are feeding an unbalanced meal as 20% or less of his food, you don’t have to worry about it. If you are feeding it more often, you want bone to be between 10 and 20% of the diet. For something like chicken quarters, you might want to add in half again of boneless chicken, if you are going to give that every day, but leg quarters are pretty meaty, so it might be enough meat for the amount of bone.
As far as BDN, their claim that something from the guaranteed analysis is proprietary is illegal. The guaranteed analysis is required on the label by law and fermented veggies should not alter that. They would not reveal the most basic information, such as the calcium content of their food. They are far too shady for me to trust, especially as the majority of my dogs diet. As a meal once in a while, I wouldn’t worry at all, because as I said earlier in this post, if you are feeding 20% or less unbalanced food, it doesn’t matter.
OH MY I just figured out that BC stands for BORDER COLLIE ! Duh! My dear friend has two BCs and both are Therapy dogs with our local hospital – the Children’s Hospital. They are such wonderful and beautiful dogs! So you ARE a BC NUT!!!
Thank you for that info. I guess he COULD sometime handle these LAMB bones, which is nice to know.
I guess I need to find out from BIG DOG NATURAL about the Calcium and Phosphorus amounts so to plan for our dog. I think I am going to use some Darwins too and they are very forthcoming about those ingredients.
Our GSD can eat 1 1/2 pounds of raw food a day, according to the Calculators on raw food sites. He MIGHT need 2 full pounds. Will have to experiment I think. I had figured that down the road I can just give AXEL BDN or Darwins for breakfast and measure out on a scale the remaining weighted “True Raw” food at night, like some part of a chicken or even a part of a Turkey Neck. Does this make sense? Thanks.
Yes, that makes complete sense. And yes, I’m the Border Collie nut. I have 2, will get another in the next couple years, and would happily have 5, but alas, my husband is not theBCnut.
Thank you Nancy, regarding the compliments on my Bailey. She is quite the sweetheart. Speaking of border collies, Bailey is a border collie/pitbull mix, or so I’m told. I do see some traits from both breeds in her, so I think they may have been right. & Bailey’s best friend is a border collie. This is Bailey and Chase. 🙂
OMG they are so adorable I cannot BELIEVE IT. It’s such a great breed and TAKES A SPECIAL owner bec they are very intelligent – Many say the most intelligent. You are a special person as is BCNUT! I respect you both.
Thank you for sending the pics. When I learn how to post a pic I will do so too.
BCNUT – Thank you! Will print all this off. I did not know those details re BDN and that is not good at all. My Golden eats that food like there is no tomorrow, licking the bowl as though something would come out of the bowl if she licks enough. IT is very digestible and because of that I will start the GSD on it just as a move TO raw. It’s not “total” raw or “REAL” raw but its a start and this GSD needs an easy start.
My Golden started it a month ago so I will start adding Darwins 2 oz at a time TO the BDN to transition her onto Darwins… Will add 2 oz every other day til she’s done. I think I will keep the GSD on the BDN if he digests it well for a month or so and do the same with Darwin’s. Once they both are on Darwins then I can give them something like a chicken bone at night some nights — and just have a few digestible selections on the menu, probl including BDN and Darwins. Had also liked Vital Essentials and Answers. Thought I might see how they do with those, but that’s on down the road.
I would like to have your opinion as to this plan.
I have been giving my dogs beef marrow bones that are at least 4 inches. The are packaged by either Nature’s Variety, Primal or NW Naturals at our local feed store. Are these considered weight bearing bones? I have been giving to them for a couple of years about once a week or two. Have I just been lucky or are these pretty safe for 80’poind dogs? Of course they love them.
I think they ARE weight bearing. I went to Whole Foods and asked for a Raw Meaty Bone and he brought a very large one out which he said he could cut down to whatever size I wanted. He also said that dogs go nuts for the marrow and he said it was a femur. I later learned that those are weight bearing bones. While I do not like to assume anything perhaps when you figure out WHICH BRAND it is that you are using, just call and ask. I was at the Pet Boutique today and PRIMAL has some of those in a bag in the freezer. I know someone who feeds them to their dog and the dog LOVES them. I did not say anything to her about it. The employee at the store told me that they carry lamb bones which are easier on the teeth. She said to me that weight bearing is risky and yet they were in the freezer. So MUCH to keep in mind!!!!DoriMember
C4C. 4″ is pretty small for a 80 lb. dog. Also, myself and others are not crazy about beef marrow bones because of the marrow. The marrow is a very high fat with no nutritional benefit. Of course, I guess it depends on the % of fat in the food you are already feeding. C4C if it were I, I would switch to a bone without marrow and a much, much large size. You know how small my girls are and I would never feed them a bone that small. If your dogs haven’t broken or cracked any teeth then they have strong teeth and that’s good, my concern is over the 4″ size of the bone and that it contains marrow.
Marrow bones are weight bearing bones. I agree that 4″ is small for a bone that they should not consume. That’s the smallest I would give to my 45# dogs. My dogs don’t try to eat marrow bones so I don’t worry about them breaking their teeth, but hard chewers definitely should NOT have marrow bones from beef.
I scrape about half the marrow out of them before letting the dogs have them, otherwise it’s too much fat.
Dori/theBCnut, marrow is of no nutritional value? But I have read such praises on it! >:/ I’m confused now… Bruno gets extra fat every other day (coconut oil) and canned sardines once/week, and a 1-2-inch beef marrow bone/month in the cold winter months (November-February). The boy runs daily and seems like he runs on fat, because he looks and feels very athletic (unlike his flabby mama…) I also sometimes stuff the empty bone with doggie icve-cream and freeze it, and give it occasionally. Once he has stripped it clean, he doesn’t try to chew it too much, so I’m not that worried about his teeth…
As for BDN, I just got my green tripe 1-lb bag (came out free with their intro coupon), and if I am not mistaken, their website now DOES include something like a GA, plus calcium/phosphorous ratios.
Hmmm, that is what I was afraid of. The marrow has never bothered them. I give the bones to them when they are still pretty frozen so I don’t notice the marrow. They don’t try to eat the bones. Just socks, paper, pens, pencils and poop!
Nancy- lol! I have bought all three brands. Our store is starting to carry a lot of different frozen raw brands. I’ve seen the lamb bones too. I’ll try them instead. I’ve never seen any rib bones, however. I wonder why when so many DFA regulars recommend them. Good discussion, everybody!DoriMember
Rib bones you’ll find in any supermarket. They are good for chewing, contain a little bit of meat, not much. They won’t crack a tooth and another good point is that they are very inexpensive at the grocery store as opposed to the frozen you’ll buy at the pet store. Always you’re assured that the ribs at the grocery store are for human consumption, not so with the dog ones. Anyway, that’s my reasoning. I would imagine that others would agree. And look for sales at the stores. You can buy a rack on sale and just split them up. If they appear to have a bit of fat on them, just trim the fat off.
Naturella. Once or twice a month in the winter for the meaty beef bone with marrow is ok. I would scoop out some of the marrow and throw it away. I am concerned at the small size of the bones you’re giving Bruno. Could be a possible choking hazard. Rule is always give bones larger than you think they can handle. Bigger is always better. Of course not giant size that he can handle it but I’m sure you know what I mean. Watch him chew on it for a while then you can put it in a baggy and refrigerate and give it back to him in a day or two. But do scoop some of the marrow out.
- This reply was modified 8 years, 2 months ago by Dori.
Woah, I am JUST now seeing this!
Dori, the beef marrow bone is actually too big for him to fit all the way in his mouth, even half-way is pretty much impossible. It is fairly wide, just short. I measured it and it is really between 1 and 2 inches, definitely not 2… 1.5-1.75 tops. It is shorter than my thumb and I believe that I have average hands, lol. The diameter is about the same size as the height. If I took any marrow out, Bruno would be getting 1 tsp or less marrow… If not, it would be maybe 1 full tsp, possibly with a heap… Definitely not even a Tbs… Is that even an amount I should be concerned about?
For my 45 lb dogs, I have some 4″ marrow bones and I still scrape out the ends. I leave about 2 tbs and I don’t give them their fish oil or coconut oil on those days. Would you give the Brute a tbs of added fat? Or would that be too much for him?
BCnut, hm… Well, I guess I can try and scrape out some and see how he does, the next time scrape out less, and so on. It would only be once a month anyway, and I can hold off on giving coconut oil that day, so it will be a few days (Thursday-Tuesday without other added fat if I give the marrow bone on Saturday or Sunday) so I think he should be ok.. He was last time I gave him one which was a while ago. Quite a while. But like I said, I will try with scraping first, in case he has lost his fatness tolerance, lol!
I think that sounds like a good idea. I use a butter knife to remove some marrow.
Thanks, BCnut! I think a butter knife should work fine too! 🙂
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